Ancestry V1 vs V2 Test Comparison

In May, Ancestry changed the chip that they use for autosomal DNA processing and comparison. They removed roughly 300,000 of their roughly 682,000 locations and replaced them with medical SNPs. That means that people who tested before the middle of May, 2016 are only being compared to a little more than half of the SNPs on the chip of the people who tested on the V2 chip after the middle of May, 2016.

Clearly there are going to be some differences in matches reported. Ancestry said they should be minimal, but I must have some Missouri blood someplace, because I wanted to see for myself. I ordered a V2 test to see just how the V1 and the V2 tests compare.

I am specifically interested in ethnicity percentages and match numbers. But first, let’s step through the order process.

Ordering at Ancestry

Ordering a second kit was amazingly simple – done just by clicking on my current account “Order a new kit.” They keep my credit card information on file, so literally it was a one or two click process. Unfortunately, what they didn’t do was to have me read all of the Terms and Conditions and small print when I ordered, so by the time the kit arrived, and I was already financially invested, there was little I could do about the Ts&Cs if I didn’t like them. I strongly suspect most people don’t read the fine print, because at that point, it doesn’t matter since they’ve already paid for the kit and made the purchase decision.  And let’s face it, you’re excited about the kit arriving and want to take the test.

After my kit arrived, I had to activate the test, and of course, I got to do some clicking and answer some questions. Let’s walk through that process, because it has changed since I ordered my original kit several years ago.


When you click the box that says “I have read the Terms and Conditions,” actually read the Terms and Conditions. It’s unfortunate that you don’t see the Terms and Conditions until AFTER you’re purchased this product – because the contents of the Terms and Conditions might well affect your decision about whether to purchase this DNA test or not. Maybe that’s why it’s here and doesn’t appear during the purchase process!

Here’s a link to the Terms and Conditions.

Please take note specifically of the following paragraph from the Terms and Conditions document:

By submitting DNA to AncestryDNA, you grant AncestryDNA and the Ancestry Group Companies a perpetual, royalty-free, world-wide, transferable license to use your DNA, and any DNA you submit for any person from whom you obtained legal authorization as described in this Agreement, and to use, host, sublicense and distribute the resulting analysis to the extent and in the form or context we deem appropriate on or through any media or medium and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed or discovered. You hereby release AncestryDNA from any and all claims, liens, demands, actions or suits in connection with the DNA sample, the test or results thereof, including, without limitation, errors, omissions, claims for defamation, invasion of privacy, right of publicity, emotional distress or economic loss. This license continues even if you stop using the Website or the Service.

Note that the Terms and Conditions then links to the Ancestry Privacy Statement, which by implication is part of the Terms and Conditions, so read that too. And that statement is different from the AncestryDNA Privacy Statement, so you’ll want to read that as well.

Please note specifically in the Ancestry DNA privacy statement, the following paragraph, 6-i:

Non-Personal Information also includes personal information that has been aggregated in a manner such that the end-product does not personally identify you…

Because Non-Personal Information does not personally identify you, we may use Non-Personal Information for any purpose, including sharing that information with the Ancestry Group Companies and with other third parties. In some instances, we may combine Non-Personal Information with personal information (such as combining your name with your geographical location). If we do combine any Non-Personal Information with personal information, the combined information will be treated by us as personal information, as long as it is combined, and its use by us will be subject to this Privacy Statement.

Ancestry then asks you about Research Project Participation, which is a specific authorization for third party research projects that is different from the above.


You can read the entire Informed Consent document here.

How many people do you think actually read, and understand, all 4 documents hot linked above? If you do, that makes 2 or 3 people that I know of.  If you have insomnia, these documents will cure it, guaranteed:)


I’m glad to see Ancestry encouraging people to link to trees.  Now if testers would just make those trees public instead of private.


I did link to my tree during the activation process, but when my results came back, my tree was not linked. Be sure to check…otherwise you won’t have any Circles or Shared Ancestor Hint leaf matches which means your DNA matches and you share a common ancestor in your trees.

A couple of steps didn’t work correctly, but I was still able to register the kit.

Another item, which I think is important and I don’t believe was reflected in the Terms and Conditions verbiage is that Ancestry kits are now being processed by an outside lab, Quest Diagnostics.

A few weeks later, my V2 results were returned, so let’s take a look at how they compare to V1.

V1 versus V2 Match Results

It took one day short of a month, after my test reached Ancestry, for my results to be returned.

Given the rather dramatic change in the number of genealogy SNPs on the Ancestry chip between V1 and V2, and given that only about half of the locations are the same between the V1 and V2 chips, I expected significantly fewer matches on the V2 chip than on the V1 chip.  In other words, I didn’t expect that the V2 chip would be nearly as effective in matching the V1 test takers, because those two chips only shared about half of their locations.

There were more V1 matches, but not nearly as many as I expected.


*Leaf matches are Shared Ancestor Hints that mean you match someone’s DNA who also has a common ancestor listed in their tree. This is by far the most useful DNA tool at Ancestry.

I need to confess here that the matches I’m actually the most interested in are those “Shared Ancestry Hints” matches, with a leaf, because the common ancestor is identified for the matching pair of people, unless one of the two has a private tree.  Then the non-private tree user cannot see the private tree’s ancestors, which means that you cannot determine the common ancestor with someone who has a private tree.


The 19 Circles are the same Circles for both kits, which is what I expected. This also tells me that the missing matches weren’t that critical match that made the difference between a Circle being formed, and not.

Unfortunately, there is no good way to print or download your list of matches, at least that I have been able to discover. I used (ctrl+P) to print all 7 pages of leaf hint match, which was 12 printed pages for each match page, in case you’re so inclined. I then compared the V1 to the V2 matches manually. Yes, this was a huge pain, spread across 84 pages.  However, I really wanted to see if the V1 kit leaf matches were the same as the V2 leaf matches. These should be a good representative sample of the rest of the matches, and I’m not about to manually compare 15,000 matches.

Of the old V1 kit matches, 7 matches were present on the V1 list and absent on the V2 list, including my last two “lowest confidence” matches who were obviously teetering on the threshold – and some of those missing SNPs were just enough to push us below the threshold, so we are not considered a match on the V2 chip.

For the new V2 kit, only one match was present on the V2 list and absent on the V1 list. Apparently that one kit’s critical matches were in the area of the medical SNPs and the genealogical SNPs alone (if there were matches in that area) did not cause the kit to rise above Ancestry’s matching threshold. Unfortunately, without a chromosome browser, we can’t see anything about the locations of the matches on our chromosomes.

About 2.5% of the matches were absent in the V2 test when compared to the V1 test. However, the net difference of 5 was not reflective of the matches being the same. A total of 8 were absent from the other test, in total.

Other than these 8 kits, the rest were the same matches in both kits. I would suspect that the matching percentage of about 97.5% would hold for the total matches as well.

Of the highest confidence matches, all of the matches were present. The match order was often significantly different, indicating that the reduced SNP count did matter in terms of how well they matched, but did not reduce the match enough to cause them to drop off the match list – except for those 7 of course. As expected, the V1 kit did out-perform the V2 kit, but not by a lot.

NADs are New Ancestor Discoveries, which are inappropriately named.

It’s interesting that the new V2 kit has no New Ancestor Discoveries. I checked several times over two or three weeks, thinking that some might appear. That’s actually fine with me, because, as I’ve written before, NADs have proven to be entirely useless. Still, if I were a V2 test taker, especially an adoptee or someone with unknown parentage, I would want every hint I could get. In the past few days/weeks, the same NADs on the V1 account have been coming…and going…and coming…and going. If you don’t have NADs, and you want NADs, give Ancestry’s customer support a call and ask them to kick the tires for you. Lack of NADs could be a bug.

**The day I did the initial comparison between the V1 and V2 kits, I had 3 NADs on the older V1 kit. Two days after I did the initial comparison on the V1 kit, I had 7 NADs (which remain 3 weeks later) and still zero on the newer V2 kit. Today, the NAD total is 8 on the old V1 kit and still zero on the new V2 kit.

V1 versus V2 Ethnicity

The V1 versus V2 Ethnicity is really nothing to write home about. There was a very slight difference between two categories, by 1% each. Scandinavia, where I have no documented lines, moved from 10 to 11% and Great Britain, where I have multiple lines, moved from 4% to 3%. Go figure.


It’s somehow ironic that my trace regions include 3% in Great Britain and 2% in Ireland, where I have multiple documented lines, and the same amount, 2% in Italy and Greece combined where I have absolutely no connection at all.

As I’ve said before, about all of the testing companies, these ethnicity tests tend to be relatively reliable between continents, meaning Europe, Asia, Africa and Native American – and much less reliable within continents. Don’t be trading in your kilt (or anything else) based on these kinds of tests.


I was really quite pleasantly surprised that the matching difference wasn’t greater between chips. And truthfully, the matches I’m the most interested in are my closest matches, because they are the matches with whom I’m most likely to be able to identify a common ancestor – and my Shared Ancestor Hints leaf matches, because a common ancestor is already identified. All of my close matches were present in both kits – probably because losing some matching segments didn’t affect the fact that we do match.  Most of my Shared Ancestor Hints were retained too.  The matches that were lost tended to be the lower matches, based on Ancestry’s highest to lowest matching order.

Losing just under 2% of more than 15,000 matches isn’t anything I’m going to lose any sleep over. Losing 2.5% of my leaf matches isn’t anything I’m going to lose sleep over either, although those certainly do hold more promise than non-leaf matches. I would like those additional 8 leaf matches not present in the other kit, but again, I wouldn’t lose sleep over those either.

The net-net of this is that if you have already taken the V1 test, before May of 2016, you don’t need to order the V2 test. The V2 test is slightly less productive, but all in all, it’s still of the same approximate quality as the V1 test – except for those NADs.

If I had already tested on the V1 kit, I certainly would not pay an additional $99 for 1 additional Shared Ancestor Hint leaf match that I’d have to manually compare with the other kit to find – and I would have to maintain that duplicate comparison into the future. I went through that process for this article, but had I been doing this just for myself and known the outcome in advance, I truthfully wouldn’t have bothered. It’s a lot of work for very little return.

The differences in terms of matches, ethnicity and circles are minimal, and the V2 test received slightly fewer matches in total, slightly fewer leaf matches and no NADs – so there would be absolutely no benefit in retesting on V2 if you’ve already tested on V1 – aside from 1 match that you’ll have to manually compare to find. I’m glad I took the original V1 test, because it does fare somewhat better overall, but not enough to make a lot of difference.

I have been pretty unhappy with some of Ancestry’s past choices and changes, to put it mildly, but this time, Ancestry seems to have done this right. I wish Ancestry hadn’t changed chips at all, because their motivations are entirely self-serving and the chip change doesn’t benefit the genealogist at all.  However, in terms of how Ancestry handled this chip conversion, and compared to 23andMe’s disaster, Ancestry hit a home run.  The change may not benefit Ancestry’s customers, but it also doesn’t damage them (much) or impact their ability to utilize the testing and matching for genealogy – which is why they purchased the test in the first place.

Ancestry was correct when they said that the V2 chip wouldn’t affect matching much with the V1 chip customers, and that there was no need for V1 customers to purchase a new V2 test.

Now, if Ancestry would just implement a chromosome browser so we can see how and where we match people – we would all be really happy campers!!!  Yes, I know, Hades has not yet frozen over…but hey…winter’s coming and hope springs eternal.



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59 thoughts on “Ancestry V1 vs V2 Test Comparison

  1. You area great deal smarter and seem more educated than I, but I would rather have 500 closer than 4th cousin than 10000 8th and higher. When they did the change it did not see as many people listed as good match alot more strong matches. From my understanding of the updates papers and information I have read said they rerun all dna samples automatically whenever it has a major update in technology. Maybeing misread it .

  2. Do you know if FTDNA has fixed there problem with uploading Ancestry’s V2 raw data? Last time I tried which has been several months, it didn’t work and I have several kits waiting to transfer. I tried to confirm a fix, but haven’t found any recent mention of the problem or solution.

    Thanks for your blog and all your work!

  3. Great article. Thank you for posting it. I would just add that I made my ancestry account private after I found that the photos I posted were on the Internet. I do respond to people who contact me so that may be an avenue to go to get to private accounts.

  4. I have a slightly related issue, but it deals with ftDNA and GEDMatch. I have some folks who I match on those systems, but do not show on Ancestry. In one case, the person has all 3 and another has GEDMatch and AncestryDNA. The typical cM values are 47 and 20 at GEDMatch. Is this issue related to the algorithm that AncestryDNA is using to compute matches or possibly the chip they are using? All 3 of us have the older chip results at AncestryDNA.

    • I said they hit a home run as compared to what 23andMe did, and that’s true. At 23andMe, only 400 of my 1700 or so matches still match me in a fashion that I can utilize – which is abysmal. At Ancestry, only 7 of 333 matches are missing. I clearly said that I wish they had not changed the chip, but they did, and all things considered, the results are not nearly as bad as I had expected. With 50% of the SNPs gone, I would have expected about that many of the matches to be gone, but that was not the case.

  5. Now off to Gedmatch and Promethease… Like you, as a curious by nature person, I did the Ancestry test – just to see – since I already have a 23andMe result. There doesn’t seem to be much difference between 23andMe V4 and Ancestry V2 when I compare to myself using GEDmatch. I use paint the difference between two kits and honestly, the difference is in the weeds. I also did Promethease with my 23andMe kit, because when I tested, they were not providing medical info. So I think I will spend another $5 to compare, although I have the strong suspicion that the new Ancestry SNPs are the same as 23andMe’s and there is a lab out there making money…

  6. I purchased and rceived two ancestry kits in midApril 2016 that i sent on to others. They were not completed and submitted until mid to end of May. Which version would the results represent?

  7. Roberta, Thanks for the excellent analysis of Ancestry DNA processing and changes. I want to let others know of a big problem at Ancestry that as of this date they has not fixed. Some of us have significant family lines that lived in VA and later became West VA. Starting 10 months ago I alerted Ancestry to the problem in their computer programs, but nothing is changed. Ancestry’s
    search programs default for West Virginia and it makes finding data prior to statehood in
    1863 very difficult. ie When you use Ohio County, Virginia, USA, the program thinks that you
    are searching for data in the state of Ohio. Some documents are even stored in West Virginia
    categories when they occurred before statehood. I would encourage anyone to push Ancestry to fix this problem. If you are interested, all you have to do, is to type in Wheeling, and the default is always West Virginia.

  8. Great summary, Roberta – as always. Since SNPs are a sampling technique, it’s not surprising that most of the Matches stayed the same. With a chromosome browser, we might see slightly smaller segments… Certainly almost none larger.
    AncestryDNA budged slightly when they added the number of segments and the total cM. I now link a lot of their kits at GEDmatch, and the cM count at GEDmatch is almost always simewhat higher.
    I’m hoping that AncestryDNA will inch just a little more, and tell us the Chromosome number of each matching segment. With all the data we have now, I think we could place most Hint segments in the right segment if we knew the Chr #. And we could usually group Matches with the same surname Hint with that info.

    • Hi Jim, Thanks! I didn’t even know the number of segments and total cM feature existed until I read your comment! and agree that a chromosome browser would make the match information so much more useful. I feel like I’m working with the lights off!

    • Just to clarify for the cM value and # segments, it is not obvious at all. When you open a family tree, there is a little “I” button just to the right of the confidence level. If you click on that button, you get the shared centiMorgons and the # of segments found. It was 6 mo. ago or so that I noticed this button and checked it out — not posted in plain site. From another post, the AncestryDNA Helper plugin for Chrome does a nice job of getting a list of your matched. However, I gave up on getting the surnames download that is apparently done by opening every family tree and extracting the names. Chrome kept locking up and it was taking hours. The list of matches was what I really wanted anyway and I can use it to search for a user ID to see if I find the match (I often get those from folks on GEDMatch or such).

      Finding the cM and segments for an individual was a neat find and am glad Jim mentioned it for others.

  9. Biggest disappointment for me was the fact that we can no longer transfer Ancestry results easily to ftdna. They say they are working on it but give no date. I think ftdna may just want to sell more kits.

  10. Roberta,
    Thanks for the analysis.

    FYI, You can use the DNAGEDcom client ($10 monthly subscription, can buy just one month) to easily download all your ancestryDNA match lists and shared matches lists and tree info. The downloaded file includes the shared cMs and segment data.

    While it is good that the overall number of matches didn’t change much, you stated that the amount of shared DNA with particular matches did change based on the match order changing significantly in some cases. I suspect that change can have a major impact when using triangulation since it is no longer and apples to apples comparison.

    I’m very curious to see how impactful the changes are when using a chromosome browser at GEDmatch to compare a match to your two kits and how that impacts ICW groupings. I suspect there is more of an impact than realized with the more distant matches (3C and beyond).

    Think an analysis of the impact of the differences across all five versions of tests (ancestry v1 and v2, 23andMe V3 and V4, and FTDNA) needs to be completed at some point. That is a large undertaking. I’d do it but only tested on 23andMe V4 so can’t be the guinee pig testee.


    • I am working on a second article now about the V1 vs V2 results and the amount of shared DNA. Unfortunately, I only have a few of my ancestry match’s GedMatch numbers to compare there. There maybe more than a couple of articles:)

    • Richard

      The only thing that changes is the length of the shared segment. The shared segment should be at the same location, and more importantly, from the same Common Ancestor. The shared DNA is a fixed item; the only thing is how much of the shared segment is sampled. Per Roberta’s report it is enough to get a Match in almost all cases. The very few that drop out tend to be small, speculative, segments to start with. Triangulation will be virtually unaffected (when in doubt, just drop the comparison threshold to 500 SNPs and 5cM)

      • Important observation, this. Fewer SNPs in a matching segment on GEDmatch for v2 Ancestry – and presumably v4 23andMe also. Have already had to drop these limits when seeking matches with these new non-FTDNA analyses.
        Maybe eventually someone will come up with how many SNPs are needed for a good match with these new chips.

    • HI Richard, I have used the DNAgedcom client and I dont see where I picked up any individual segment info at all, just the totals. Could it be that the V2 results dont show that info to DNAgedcom anymore?

      • Chris,
        It does not provide individual segment data because ancestry doesn’t provide it. The Client does provide the total number of shared segments and the total shared CMs.
        Hope that clarifies.


      • Jim,

        I think more than the length of the segments changed I suspect that some segments may have changed entirely for the more distant matches (4C and beyond). Have anecdotally seen that already when looking at siblings matches where one sibling is a V1 and another is a V2. Based on the percentage of shared DNA along, closer matches are likely less affected while more distant matches (4C and beyond) will see a greater affect
        To me, it makes sense that that when they change 1/3 of what is being compared, you will get different results.

        Plan to do my own analysis, hopefully by the end of the year. I have a number of ancestry matches at GEDmatch that we have confirmed our common ancestor via triangulation.

        Haven’t bought my v2 kit yet.


  11. Thanks, good to know that linking the tree doesn’t stay for all those with trees that you have to go open. Sigh….
    I put that in my address field so you see please attach your tree to your results. Along with begging everyone to upload to Gedmatch!

  12. Roberta,

    Thanks for investigating, Ancestry engineering the modfied chip to be compatible within its system is not surprising. The real problem is what happens with GEDmatch. I would like to see you compare your old and new Ancestry kits with the same kits on GEDmatch, both with default parameters and reduced parameters. As you look at shorter segment matches, I think you will see the problems,

    Jack Wyatt

    • Jack, I am with you on this. I have a 4th to 6th cousin match who showed 57 centimorgans shared across 3 DNA segments on Ancestry. When I downloaded the raw data and put into Gedmatch, it shows that we share 83.5 cMs with the longest being 39 cMs. Should I assume that Timber removed all of the small segment matches?

  13. I love your summary Roberta. I have a question though. My test was received on May 12 and the results were posted on May 27. The downloaded raw DNA results says in part “#Data was collected using AncestryDNA array version: V2.0, #Data is formatted using AncestryDNA converter version: V1.0.” What does that mean? Did I get the SNPs analyzed with Chip V2 or V1? Confused!

  14. I ordered my sister-in-laws kit with ancestry planning to transfer it to ftdna where her brothers kit is. I had ordered 3 kits at nearly the same time. Her kit was two days later than the other two and will not transfer to ftdna. So so fär I can compare her with my son but not my husband/her brother. Very disappointing.
    Also most of my nads are the husband of an ancestor.
    I have found some reoccurring names that I know nothing about. Do I put them in a separate tree as if looking for adoption information?
    One family says that because I match with a first cousin of their mother that I am matching on the maternal side – when the paternal family consistently matches other findings. But those new unknown surnames are showing up on the maternal side as to me that I can’t place anywhere.???

  15. Roberta, If you want a tool to give you a download (csv file) of all the matches for each of your AncestryDNA kits, try AncestryDNA Helper which is an extension for the Chrome browser which you can find for free in the Chrome Store. If you really like it there is a way to help support the product written by an AncestryDNA user.

    AncestryDNA Helper also has some additional search tools (like username, notes) and you can compare your kits for common matches and phase kits.

    The initial scan can take a while depending on how many kits you manage and the number of matches for each kit.

    There’s a Yahoo Group for the product and a manual is available there.

  16. You can download your list of matches into an Excel spreadsheet. I did that to compare my results and my sister’s. It was amazing to see how many unshaved matches 4th cousin and back we had.

  17. Hi Roberta,
    How can I tell if my AncestryDNA results are V1 or V2? They were processed right around the changeover in May 2016! I checked the messages inside of the Raw Data and there was this:
    #Data was collected using AncestryDNA array version: V2.0,
    #Data is formatted using AncestryDNA converter version: V1.0.

  18. I don’t know if anyone will read this or even care, but want to express my dissatisfaction with the ‘new’ way of doing business, which also carries over and severely impacts my research of 10 Ancestry DNA kits that I administer —

    For the rest of my limited time on Earth (I’m 70), I’m not going to waste it on phone queues that are ultimately unsatisfactory. I’m done calling you guys — you promise all and deliver nothing.

    My 3-year-old cry for support with outgoing in-app messages has never been resolved. In fact, you recently closed my last Ancestry Support Case — 00155616 — without even following up by telling me why.

    The last time I phoned, the lady promised me a 3 month complimentary sub when my paid one ran out. Instead, I received — “Roger, we’re sorry auto-renewal took you by surprise.
    We automatically renew our membership packages to make sure our members always have access to their discoveries and family history tools. But it seems we weren’t very helpful this time. To make it up to you, we’d like to give you a chance to save 15% on your membership.” — Thanks, heaps!

    You shift the burden on us users to call you, instead of allowing me to e-mail. I’ve called at least 8 times over the last year. You’re ignoring me, I guess. Is this your business strategy? Too big to fail?

    Oh well, in response, I’m switching over to Geni. Sorry it had to end this way.

    • Hey Roger,

      I was recently at a small town Family History Center in Gaylord, Michigan and the manager of that center spent a significant amount of time assisting a patron via the phone and web in handling some type of problem with Ancestry (I’m not sure if that was a DNA problem, per se). She used her FHC leadership position to apply pressure to the seemingly less than helpful Ancestry employee in an attempt to resolve the patron’s problem. This service may be reflective of FHC service in other locations or an example of a lesser trafficked location’s leadership going above and beyond.

      Based on this observation may I suggest that you consider visiting a local Family History Center (you can find them from and seeing if you may be able to get direct help in navigating treacherous Ancestry waters. That FHC manager also mentioned that (at least at that Gaylord “church”) if you joined the “church” that you automatically could/would receive a free membership. From my perspective this Could mean that if one could locate Mormons that are also involved in DNA this could lead to a group that by definition works with Ancestry and likely Ancestry DNA. Hope this hint may be of some help.

      Best Regards,

      Valerie Curren

  19. Hi Roberta
    I tested on the V1 chip and my mother on the V2. Some of our matches are showing as sharing a larger segment with me than they share with my mother. Which I thought would be impossible (unless they were also related to my father) Is this caused by the chip difference?

        • Can you please find that link where Ancestry said that and post it? That is not true to the best of my knowledge. When they released the new version, this was discussed on the conference call, as was the need for current V1 testers to upgrade to V2, which is when Ancestry said that was not going to be necessary. In order for that to happen, Ancestry would have to save your DNA sample and then rerun every single one of the 2 million tests. After time, some of the samples are not viable and in time, there will be no DNA left to rerun. So this is clearly not feasible for Ancestry from a number of different perspectives.

          • Maybe I misunderstood and that is possible as I had a stroke a year ago. But I have had several updates and it said it had been. Updated and my circles increased and had better matches. Maybe I misinterpreted the information.I will look and if I see something I will post it if I do

          • Maybe that was what I read. I have a hard time understanding all the lingo. I appreciate tell column for information buto I need like ancestry and gedmatch for real dummies

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